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Nonazole Wipes for Malassezia spp-Associated Dermatitis

William Oldenhoff, DVM, DACVD, ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital, San Fernando Valley, California


|September 2018

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In the Literature

Sjöström Y, Mellor P, Bergvall K. A novel non-azole topical treatment reduces Malassezia numbers and associated dermatitis: a short term prospective, randomized, blinded and placebo-controlled trial in naturally infected dogs. Vet Dermatol. 2018;29(1):14-e7.


Malassezia spp-associated dermatitis (MAD) is a common skin condition in dogs that often contributes to the exacerbation of atopic dermatitis. Treatment with an azole is generally the standard of care. Although likely uncommon, there have been reports of decreased susceptibility to azoles,1-3 creating a need for additional therapeutic options for MAD.

This study* assessed a commercially available nonazole solution. Eighteen dogs with MAD on at least 2 paws were recruited. Each dog was its own control. In a blinded fashion, the test solution was applied daily to one affected paw, and placebo was applied daily to the other. The dogs were rechecked 2 weeks after enrollment. Malassezia spp numbers were compared between the initial visit and the recheck.  The owners also reported pruritus levels for each paw both before and after the trial.

There was significant reduction in Malassezia spp numbers in the test-solution group as compared with the placebo group. Owners reported improvement in pruritus of both the placebo-treated paw and the test-solution–treated paw. No significant difference in pruritus levels was observed between the 2 groups at the end of the study. 


Key pearls to put into practice:


The nonazole wipes used in this study show promise as an additional tool to treat Malassezia spp overgrowth on canine paws; however, this product is not currently available in the United States. Further trials are also needed to compare this product with existing azole products.


Although yeast numbers decreased significantly in the actively treated paw, owners reported improved pruritus in both placebo and test-solution–treated paws. One potential explanation is that some of these dogs may have been atopic in addition to having MAD. It is possible that the topical treatments removed pollens and thus improved atopic pododermatitis and improved pruritus regardless of change in Malassezia spp numbers. This highlights the value of wiping the paws of any dog with pododermatitis. 


Malassezia spp are part of the normal flora; overgrowth is typically secondary to some primary disease process (eg, allergy, endocrinopathy). Dogs with Malassezia spp overgrowth should also be evaluated for primary conditions. Treatment of the primary disease process may prevent secondary yeast overgrowth from developing.

*This study was partially supported by Orion Pharma Animal Health, Sollentuna.


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